CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
CHICAGO – “Inside Llewyn Davis” shows the strength of the Coen brothers’ authorship, and the vitality their vision gives to different time periods, locations, and life experiences. This freewheelin’ bildungsroman of destiny? coincidence? trails a scraggly singer/songwriter (Oscar Isaac as the title character), daring to spread olden tunes in a period of American artistry that is pre-Dylan.
Films about musicians are remarkably common. Artists from one medium have always loved to put themselves in the well-worn shoes of craftsmen from another. Most of them are stories of an underrated talent rising to the top of his profession, designed for both audience and filmmaker to live vicariously through the protagonist’s success.
CHICAGO – One of more memorable performances of 2013 is from an actor who has been a bit under the radar – Oscar Isaac. After character parts in several familiar films, like “The Nativity Story,” “Sucker Punch” and “The Bourne Legacy,” Isaac steps out as the lead in the new Coen Brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
CHICAGO – Off shore internet gambling sites, tons of money, glorious glamorous women, parties all the time – how the heck can all of that be dull? The new film “Runner Runner” found a way. Ben Affleck phones it in and Justin Timberlake is name recognition window dressing in this limp drama.
HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Runner Runner’ with Justin Timberlake, Ben AffleckSubmitted by HollywoodChicago.com on September 27, 2013 - 4:29pm
CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 pairs of advance-screening movie passes up for grabs to the highly anticipated thriller “Runner Runner” starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck!
CHICAGO – “Trouble with the Curve,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, opens with Clint Eastwood talking to his unresponsive cock and then kicking a chair across the room. He’s in full ornery old man mode in this movie that features talented people working with a script that doesn’t allow any of them to actually use their talents.
CHICAGO – Clint Eastwood keeps going and going. His reputation as an actor is secure in a long career, and his power as a director is Oscar worthy. His ability to recognize a limp script? Not so much, if “Trouble with the Curve” is a gauge. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are along for the pitch.
CHICAGO – Baseball gets the metaphor-for-life treatment once again in “Trouble with the Curve,’ starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout estranged from his daughter (Adams) and seeks redemption in both arenas of his life. Making his directorial debut is Robert Lorenz, who has worked with Eastwood since “Bridges of Madison County.’
CHICAGO – During last year’s groundswell of Occupy protests, several films and television shows attempted to exploit the class divide for the purposes of entertainment. Only ABC’s irresistible soaper, “Revenge,” fared equally well with critics and audiences, who embraced it as a guiltily pleasurable fantasy in which the rich are brought to justice. Too bad that premise is so rarely a reality.
CHICAGO – There’s a spirit and energy in Will Gluck’s “Friends With Benefits” that’s infectious enough to get it over some of its screenwriting humps. It’s a film that features two beautiful people dancing to a Michael Buble flash mob in the middle of Times Square. If those beautiful people were Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl, most critics would have audibly retched. But Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are so remarkably charismatic that they make the cliches of “Friends With Benefits,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, much easier to take.